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Greenfield DPW boss search begins

GREENFIELD —The mayor is hoping to find someone as experienced as Sandra Shields when he and a search committee begin interviewing for the new head of the town’s Public Works Department.

“She is going to be hard to replace,” said Mayor William Martin.

Shields publicly announced this week that she is retiring on March 1 and the town has already begun advertising the position with hopes that it will find someone who will start a few weeks before Shields leaves.

Shields said she told the mayor about her plans three months ago so that he could prepare.

She currently makes $87,842 a year as public works director and a $2,500 a year stipend as head of the town’s Central Maintenance Department.

The new director will make between $74,400 and $90,331 a year, depending on his or her experience, said Dennis Helmus, the town’s human resources director.

The town is also planning to hire a central maintenance manager, he said.

Helmus said Shields got the new department up and running.

“It’s going to be difficult finding someone like her,” said Helmus.

He said Shields set up a work order system for central maintenance and worked out a system of collaboration between that department and public works and now, the department, which has also been headed by Shields, is responsible for the maintenance of 17 town and school buildings and currently has three full-time employees.

The town would like to increase the number of employees in that department to eight or nine, including its manager.

Helmus said the only building that central maintenance does not maintain is the wastewater treatment plant on Deerfield Street.

Shields announced her retirement almost 40 years after coming to Greenfield. She started her career in Greenfield working in water and wastewater treatment and became director of public works in 2007.

The 61-year-old said she felt it is time to retire.

Shields most recently saw the town through millions of dollars of repairs to damage caused by a tropical storm late last August, as well as the “greening” of Greenfield.

The greening projects included a multi-million-dollar solar farm built on the town’s capped landfill, which is expected to save the town about $250,000 in energy costs each year.

“Sandy is a wonderful and great asset and we are going to lose a ton of knowledge with her leaving,” said Martin.

He said the next director will have to know about rubbish, recycling, snow plowing, paving, building sidewalks, road work, the purchase of bulk electricity and fuel, budgeting, capital projects, and the creation of “green” programs.

The new director will be in charge of a department with a yearly budget of $1.9 million and will oversee 55 employees.

For more information about the position or to apply, visit: www.greenfield-ma.gov.

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